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Samuel Miller McDonald

I'm a geographer and author working on a book called Progress about the natural history and future of, you guessed it, progress. My writing has appeared in Current Affairs, The New Republic, The Guardian, and elsewhere. And I have appeared in interviews and videos, which you can find below. I am an editor at The Trouble and Epilogue, a doctoral researcher at University of Oxford, and graduate of the Yale School of the Environment and College of the Atlantic.

I love trees.

Photo by Heather Milligan


No road or tracks led to this mouth in the mountainside, and though the cave looked man-made, it had no discernable reason to be there. I felt pulled in.”


I started higher education at a community college in Northern Michigan, where I'm from. 


Then I studied Human Ecology in Maine at College of the Atlantic, and also started a band called Project Awesome.


I completed a Master of Environmental Management at Yale's School of the Environment, and am currently writing up a PhD thesis at Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment.

Since becoming interested in climate activism in 2006, I have been involved in many marches, lobbying efforts, protests, Congressional campaigns, and helped organize activities like conferences, divestment campaigns, and carbon neutrality pushes. ​​

My work life started with a summer job washing dishes and prepping pasta at a now-defunct Italian restaurant when I was 14. I have since worked as a mail courier, groundskeeper assistant, recycled waste coordinator, retail associate, ice cream scooper, farmhand, and shepherd. 

I co-founded a sustainable, low carbon agricultural technology venture, and have worked as a volunteer coordinator at a major nonprofit. Alongside starting up some publications, I have done stints as a researcher, both at Yale and freelance, and am now working as a writer. 

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Photo by Heather Milligan


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Photo by Ray Leaning